Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Video's Here!

Enjoy this video from Whigham, Ga's 47th Annual Rattlesnake Roundup.

EDITED: Feb. 1, 2007

OK, I removed the video because I found it ANNOYING. If you want to check it out, see it on my MySpace blog.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lottery Ticket Chain Letter: Help Me Understand

I detest chain letters about as much as I despise scammers. The electronic ones really get me. I mean, why would someone send me something and tell me I have 3.33 seconds after reading to distribute it to 214 people or I'll have 73 years of bad luck?

Today I received one in the mail from a friend outside the state, it included a scratch-off ticket. It's "not the typical chain letter," it's only distributed to five people and only two people are kept on the letter. It instructs to send the letter with a $1 scratch-off lottery ticket.

Ok, I'm a fan of scratch-off lottery tickets, I tucked them into my family's thank you cards after Christmas (though I don't think anyone won). But this is the thing I don't get. I'm suppose to pay $5 for lottery tickets plus $1.95 in postage to send this out. Now, if I actually win something with the $1 out-of-state ticket I just received, how do I get my money? And, if I receive 20 out-of-state lottery tickets, how do I receive my money? Do I spend another 39 cents and send it to the one who sent it to me, who will have to spend 39 cents to send me the dollar I win.

My brain is tired and I can't do the math, but it appears the only ones coming ahead are the post office and state lottery offices. Am I missing something?

Quirky Interest in Scams

In a freakish way, I find scams fascinating. The only people I'm interested in scamming are the scammers. What's the saying, the honest man will never be scammed?

I've decided to start posting the scams I receive, so those who Google emails too good to be true will see yes, it's a scam, back away.

SCAM Alert:

From: Jean Hossan [mailto:hossanjean@yahoo.es]
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 6:04 AM
To:
Subject: Request

Hello,
I want to solicit your attention in receiving funds on my behalf. The
purpose of my contacting you is because you live in a country where I
want to invest. On receipt of your response, I will send you full
details and more information concerning the funds and myself.
Thank you.
Jean.

###

I Google'd the name and found threads stating this name claims to be a soldier stationed in Iraq, got hold of some money, yada, yada, yada. Don't bite, it's a scam!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

How Cool Is This?

A link to my article for Belly Laugh Day ended up on DentalPlans.com. Are they promoting healthy bright smiles?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Do You Blog?

Are you a blogger? Got a minute? Then take this brief survey asking why do you blog? You may even win a groovy prize!

Got Plans? Tomorrow is Belly Laugh Day

Don't want anyone missing out on Belly Laugh Day tomorrow!

Tallahassee's Incredible Duck

Did you hear the one about the hunter who shoots a duck, brings it home to the refrigerator and two days later, the duck turns out to be alive? True Tallahassee story and you can read about it in the Tallahassee Democrat.

The duck is scheduled for surgery this Thursday. What does one send a duck recovering from surgery? I have no idea.

I'm not a hunter, but I want to know, why would someone place a dead (the hunter thought it was dead) duck without defeathering and gutting it in the refrigerator? I assume he planned on eating it someday. Wouldn't that be kinda gross to eat? Wouldn't there be some sort of decay? Wouldn't it be like eating cold road kill??? Eww.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday with a Screech and a Flag

Went to the movies today to see "Flags of Our Fathers." The author of the book with the same title, James Bradley, will be in Tallahassee next month, part of the area's Seven Days of Opening Nights. I plan to attend his event and since I probably won't be able to read the book by then, the movie would give me an idea about it. Also thought it would make an interesting story.

The movie was excellent, although it was a little difficult to follow between the shots of "today" to "then." It gave me a new perspective to the concept of a "hero." Go see it (and bring your tissues).

Before the flick started, I thought I saw something run up the aisle. "Naw, can't be anything," I thought. Must have been the way I turned my head and my hair got in my site. Couple minutes later, another dark shadow ran down the aisle. "Okay, mind is playing tricks."

Just to be safe, I lifted my feet and sat motionless. Eventually, a little brown mouse appeared from under the row of seats in front of me, sniffing around for lunch. I tensed up and was a little freaked. It wandered over to the next row, swiftly sniffing back and forth from under the seats to the open space.

I went out and told the ticket-taking gal there was a mouse in there. She replied, "Yeah, that's what they do."

Seoul Searching

There are so many places left in the world I want to experience: Murfreesboro, AR (the Craters of Diamonds State Park) Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; China; Libya; India; South Korea; Thailand and Vietnam are at the top of my list. For some reason, I didn't jump on an opportunity with the Portland tourism bureau - didn't even submit a resume. It would have been perfect for me, almost. But the idea of packing and moving is dreadful, considering the boxes of things I've accumulated during my adult life. I need someone to help me get savvy with eBay.

Another opportunity has come along, teaching English in South Korea. Don't worry, after seriously considering it, I've decided, "no." Someday I'll get there, and to the other places I want to visit, too. Someday.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hangin' Around Hot-Lanta

Last weekend was a whirlwind trip in and around Atlanta with college pal Val. It was a bit more driving than I usually like, for one - I HATE driving in Atlanta. I avoided two major accidents, one not my fault and the other would have been my fault. Damn those unmarked one-way streets! And two, I enjoy taking my time and experiencing something vs. jumping out and looking around.

The weekend included a visit to the Georgia Aquarium, which happens to be the world's largest aquarium. Okay, I would have thought a facility on the water would be larger, but apparently not.

We happened to be there the day after Ralph, a whale shark, moved on to the big sea in the sky (he died). The media were in full-force covering the story because earlier in the year, Gasper, a beluga whale, was euthanized for bone cancer. We spent a good amount of time there, splashing in the touch tanks ("please only use two fingers"), taking in the exhibits and enjoying lunch. (Enjoyed a reasonably-priced and tasty mushroom and goat cheese pizza).

Highlights included the penguin exhibit: I was able to be PART of the penguin exhibit by crawling on my hands and knees (yes, I realize it's probably meant for kids) and popping up into an over sized plastic tube. It was pretty cool to see the little tuxedo-clad birds waddling around. My advice to the Aquarium, though - get new plastic. It was a bit scratched up. The beluga whales were kinda cool, too. One would blow out a bubble (almost like a smoke ring), chase it and swallow it. The jelly fish were magnificent, too (pictured below).

Later was a walk through Centennial Olympic Park for some Kodak moments and stop at the visitor center. We told them we were heading to CNN and were given a discount card good for $1 off each tour. Hey, every bit helps! We also picked up a map which had a coupon valid at the Atlanta Zoo, which was utilized the next day.

And so it was off to CNN for a tour. I'd taken the VIP version of the tour many years ago and things have changed a bit. The VIP tour is no longer offered, no more going into the studio. It was still worthwhile. Being a HUGE Anderson Cooper fan, I had to pose with him (see photo below).

I then discovered the joy (and disappointment) of shopping at Ikea. I think we spent three hours here, it was overwhelming. Scored some cool deals but was truly disappointed when I found something on clearance reduced to $38 from $298 but couldn't find all the parts! See, if you're purchasing furniture, you buy the pieces then have to put it together. Being a Swedish company, we enjoyed a plate of Swedish meatballs (again, reasonably priced).

Atlantic Station was next, Atlanta's newest shopping and dining district. After circling the parking area for what seemed like 30 minutes, we found a place and enjoyed pomegranate margaritas and kick-ass guacamole at Rosa Mexicano Being a Friday night it was hopping and an hour wait for a table. We were lucky to find a setting at the bar.

Saturday we spent the morning at Zoo Atlanta to meet Mei Lan, the new panda cub who made her debut that weekend. Afterwards, we attempted to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and take part in the festivities, since it was the weekend of his birthday. Bottom line, things didn't work out. We found it once but didn't realize it was it. Drove around for a while, almost caused a major accident, found it again but unable to find a parking spot, I left frustrated. It was the one thing I really wanted to do over the weekend. It just won't be the same if I visit any other weekend. *sigh*

Quick stop at the Jimmy Carter National Library - which is part of the museum and since we had to pay, I opted to pass. Chateau Elan Winery was the last of the tourist things to do. It was built to replicate a French castle. Oui! Oui! Tight on time, enjoyed the $5 wine tasting and restocked my wine collection.

More images can be viewed here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

January 24 is Belly Laugh Day

Since flossing has it's own holiday (the day after Thanksgiving), Elaine Helle decided a day should be set aside to celebrate the gift of laughter. On January 24, 2006, Belly Laugh Day was celebrated for the first time. Tickled that a holiday exists to celebrate laughter, I interviewed Helle in this article.

Enjoy!

Visiting Sarasota?

It's no secret I still hold a soft spot for Sarasota, Fla. If you've been, you understand why. If you're contemplating a visit and just not sure if it's the right place for you, VISIT! You won't be disappointed.

I'd like to introduce you to a new Web site in the Sarasota cyber community called "This Week in Sarasota" (www.thisweekinsarasota.com). It's a comprehensive calendar of events meshing the tourist things to do with the things locals do. This is a comprehensive list for visitors to get involved and be part of the community, because, who wants to go to a community and be a "tourist?" If you are planning a Sarasota trip, be sure to check out my article, "Why You Should Visit Sarasota."

If you're in the Sarasota area and planning on proposing to the love of your life, check out my latest article about "Sarasota's Best Places to Propose." But, if you're getting over a love, you may be interested in reading my interview with Sarasota-based tennis pro Jennifer Magley who recently launched a Web site called 18Dozen.com. The focus is about breaking up, making up and moving on.

Is Sarasota on your mind? It should be.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cool Girly Geek Stuff

Just wanted to share a couple of cool, girly geek "stuff" I've acquired. For Christmas I received a hip computer bag from Mango Tango. After years of hauling my laptop in a black, Lands End, industrial yet sturdy bag, this new bag is a relief! I love it! It's slim, holds my laptop along with the appropriate accessories, has a cool little pouch for more accessories and is so easy to carry. Inside, it's lined with Mango Tango's sassy logo.

My Atlanta trip led me to furniture Heaven: Ikea. Have ya been??? I wish I had discovered the joy of shopping at Ikea while furnishing my apartment. Among several little things, I picked up a colorful floor protector for my computer chair. Ain't it pretty?

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Hairy Guy and a Not-So-Freaky-King

I saw the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" yesterday. I'm still digesting it. The character is the creation of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen who claims to be a newscaster from the country of Kazakhstan who comes to the United States to learn what he can take back to his homeland.

What happens next is a cross between a "Hidden Camera" television show and slapstick comedy. Borat travels across the country, seeing America. Along the way, he experiences American culture and meets up with the country's finest citizens. The thing is, when this was filmed, most people he met with really thought he was from Kazakhstan and were being filmed for a documentary.

Controversy has swirled about the film. The Kazakhstan government claims "Borat" falsely portrays the country. I'm concerned with how Americans are portrayed. I haven't seen this in the reviews, but the film points out how racism, hate and ignorance are alive and well in the good ole' U.S. of A.

I was also disturbed because Cohen took advantage of people's good intentions to help someone across the globe learn about our country and he made a mockery of it. I think of the times I've traveled to foreign lands and relied on the kindness of strangers to teach me about their culture. Will the incidents of "Borat" cause people to be less trusting? Or what's worse - no one cares this still exists?

After you're done pondering that, I began contributing to a new foodie blog over the weekend, called Yummy-King.net. Feel free to drop by and if you have any food related items to "feed" me, send my way.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Arrr! Search-Pirate.com is a New People Search Site

I realize here on the East Coast it's already Saturday, but I just gotta say, I'm glad this week is over. Although a short work week, I'm exhausted and can't WAIT to sleep in tomorrow.

Have you heard about Search-Pirate.com? A pirate helps ya search for people. Kind of. Maybe you want to find a high school sweetheart. Or maybe your kindergarten teacher. Use this site to access a handful of other people search sites. The site launched this week and you can read more about it here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Bit of Accomplishment

A travel blog I've contributed to distributed an email on January 2 stating they were suspending their payment program. This means, no more payment for future blog posts. Bummer.

The good news is I found a new foodie blog. How exciting! I've also gotten some decent leads for other online pubs. Stay tuned.

One of the best business tips given to me was in the form of a booked called "Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty" by Harvey Mackay. A wise public relations mentor gave it to me and I savored every page of it. It's about building relationships prior to needing something.

Long story short, I just connected a European-based travel writer with the generous contacts I met in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan during my visit more than two years ago. Pretty cool.

On to things closer to home, my water bill has doubled over the past six months and my toilet seems to be running. I finally called the apartment complex maintenance to "fix it," or so I thought. As far as I can tell, he came in, took a shower (someone was in my shower - the washcloth was moved and so was the curtain) and left the blank maintenance request form on the sink. Suppose I better change the towel to be on the safe side!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hawg Wings Have Landed. Should Buffalo Wings Worry?

Read the "offical" review here or the blog version below:

"Hawg wings." For more than a year, I heard about Buffalo's juicy little hog shanks from my mom. Finally over Christams, I got to taste the hype at Braun's in Newstead, NY, "Home of the Original Hawg Wings." I'm not sure about the history of the hawg wing, but in 2004, it was awarded "Rookie of the Year" at the National Buffalo Wing Festival and won awards at the 2005 festival. It's prepared almost like a Buffalo wing, in that it's soaked in some sort of sauce. Each hawg wing is tender, juicy and about the size of a deck of cards (if you're watching your protein, one wing fits the bill.)

During family night out, we ordered the 12 count portion ($28.95) with three different sauces, Braun-B-Que, Spicy Cajun and Sweet Apple. Spicy Cajun and Braun-B-Que were crowd pleasers. Sweet Apple was a bit of a disappointment, especially when the pallet is wanting a quasi-wing and not "porkchops and applesauce." Two hawg wings per person is plenty, since the dish includes a heaping pile of French fries.

We started the meal off with Braun's signature appetizer, Pestagueze Dip with garlic and roasted pita ($7.95). This dip tasted so good, there's no way it's good for ya. But if you like gooey, yummy things, this is it. I tasted olive oil, cheese, pesto and garlic. Mmmmm, mmmm. If you're heading to Buffalo, savor a hawg wing or two at Braun's, it's worth the trip.



Braun's
11891 Main Street
Newstead, NY 14007
Tel: (716) 542-2425
http://www.hawgwings.com/

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year! It's 2007, Now What?

I've successfully wasted the first morning in the New Year. I did one of the things I enjoy doing most: slept 'til 10 a.m. Sleeping in is a catch 22, I love snuggling into my feather-top bedding and wrapping myself around my down comforter. It's such a warm, comforting feeling. The negative side is the day is half-wasted and I miss out on whatever else I could have been doing.

So what will I do today? Probably wander downtown to see preparations for tomorrow's inauguration of Florida's next Governor, Charlie Crist. I will try to take a late lunch tomorrow so I can see some of the parade. It would be nice if Tallahassee businesses closed so we can enjoy the festivities. (It's also a national day of mourning for President Ford). It is the State Capital and how often do inaugurations occur? I certainly don't plan on living here four years from now to see another inauguration.

Back to blogging...

I had considered compiling a list of my favorite blog posts from 2006, but decided to look forward than back. I can't change the past but can guide my future. No, I'm not going to share my resolutions because I won't keep a single one, except shrinking my debt. I don't have a choice with that one.

I do want to plug some of my favorite blogs, I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do:

Barefoot Scribbles - I had mentioned the Barefoot and his musings recently, but he's worth mentioning again. His observant musings about the simple things in life are quite entertaining.

A “Can-Am” Couple’s Adventurous Travel Stories - If you haven't met Paula, Keith and Zoe yet, shame on you! By day, Paula is a groovy entrepreneur and Keith flies helicopters into fires. By night, they are a dynamic traveling and writing couple. And Zoe? She's the three-legged wonder dog.

Cordelia's Journeys - I met Cordelia on my trip to Afghanistan last March. Cordelia visits lands I can only dream of and most recently visited India. Her photographs are spectacular, too.

Julie Pecenco Photography - Speaking of photography, be sure to check out Julie's images here. (BTW - we did catch up over the Christmas holiday; I think the last time we saw each other was in 1998. Where does the time go???)

Margaret's MySpace - Wander, if you dare, over to MySpace and visit with the very pretty Margaret. You'll see she has a very zippy way with words.

Placid Pachyderm - Well, my pal Val hasn't posted since September 2006, so I hope her New Year's Resolution will be to blog more in 2007 (hint, hint).

Robby & Becky's Think Big Adventures - If you're looking for images of countries you've never heard of or can't pronounce, you NEED to check out Robby & Becky's awesome site. I was introduced to them by a mutual friend and met them in Kabul last March. They are currently in Iraq and are incredibly kind people.

Tree's MySpace - How does a mother of three handle living on a Caribbean island? Visit Tree to find out!

Waiguoren Critic of South China - Join an English teacher on his adventures and perspectives while in China.